| Biplab Samantray |
Visakhapatnam: Odisha all-rounder Biplab Samantray’s fine spell kept defending champions East Zone in hunt for a berth in Duleep Trophy final as South were precariously placed at 134 for five at stumps on the second day after bowling out their opponents for 267.
Samantray took three wickets for 22 runs in 14.1 overs as South Zone now depend heavily on their last recognised batting pair of left-hander Amit Verma and wicketkeeper CM Gautam who now need to add another 134 runs in order to get the crucial first-innings lead.
Earlier, Saurabh Tiwary duly completed his century and scored a patient 145 off 267 balls and his partnership of 153 runs for the seventh wicket with Basant Mohanty (58) helped them reach a decent enough total. On the first day, at point in time, East were tottering at 66 for six.
Samantray, who is known for his ability to move the ball, got rid of Karnataka trio of Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Stuart Binny as South Zone seemed to be in a spot of bother after a solid stand of 69 between Robin Uthappa (40) and Abhinav Mukund (19). But within a space of 10 deliveries both Mukund and Uthappa were back in the pavilion.
Mukund was bowled by Bengal left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena, while Samantray got Uthappa, who looked ominous having hit seven fours, edging one to glovesman SP Gautam.
Ashok Dinda trapped Ramaswamy Prasanna leg before as South Zone were reduced to 71 for three.
Manish Pandey (31) and Amit Verma (22 batting) then added 44 runs as South looked like recovering, but Samantray struck twin blows.
First he was castled Pandey and then trapped all-rounder Binny leg before off the very next delivery but Gautam stopped the bowler from getting a hat-trick.
Tiwary kept his composure and batted brilliantly to add 61 runs to his overnight total of 84 runs.
While the left-handed batsman hit two sixes and 17 boundaries in his 429-minute innings, Mohanty hit four boundaries and two sixes in his 171 ball innings.